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Before the Survey Process Begins

Conduct a Meaningful Planning Phase
Before you jump into surveying, there are numerous topics to think about that can make or break the success of your survey campaign. Even in the beginning phase of a survey project, it helps to think about the end-game. What insights are you hoping to discover through analysis of survey responses? What actions will you take based on those findings? Who will be taking your surveys? What are their lifestyles?

The key in planning a survey project is to not be short-sighted. Think long-term. Problems will always occur. However, careful mapping-out of your initiative will ensure you are ready to address those problems quickly and efficiently.

In this section:
Preliminary Steps: Basic Guide to Design Online Surveys
Before you even begin to design your first survey question, answer some initial questions that will guide your survey’s creation.

Define survey goals
Direct your project with concrete goals of what you seek to accomplish.

Identify who is involved
Who are all of the involved parties associated with the survey.

Research similar past surveys
Don’t double your efforts by running a survey that has been previously deployed

Survey length and number of questions
The length of your survey has a direct effect on its response rate.

Identify participants and their survey history
Knowing how many times your participants have been recently surveyed allows you to tailor your strategy and obtain a higher response.

Determine incentives
Incentives give participants who are on the margin of taking your survey that added bonus.

Determine distribution mode(s)
How you reach participants and how they submit the survey has a great influence on response rates.

Determine number of invites and desired response rate
Set realistic goals of how many people you would like to survey and how many you expect to actually respond.

Multiple languages?
Increase your survey’s reach by allowing participants to complete it in their native language.

Online, offline or both?
Effectively include individuals in your survey who do not have an email address.

Important Concerns of Respondents
Privacy, confidentiality, spam, opt-outs and more

Open-ended and close-ended questions
Determine the right balance of these two types of survey questions

Pre-population of know data
Shorten and personalize your surveys

Test survey invites
Sending a test invite helps administrators to objectively identify possible edits and changes of a survey before it goes live.

Survey one time or multi-year?
Are you after one-time perceptions or longitudinal analysis?

Time survey invites for convenience
Make sure you are sending invites at the optimal time for respondents to complete the survey.

When will reminders be sent?
Sending them too early can portray you as desperate for responses and sending them too late can negate sending reminders at all.